'Phrenological Office for Servants', 1805-1830.
3 4 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 26cm

'Phrenological Office for Servants', 1805-1830.

Taylor, W

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Colour etching by W Taylor satirising the work of Franz Joseph Gall and Johann Spurzheim, proponents of phrenology, showing a doctor examining a patient's head, whilst other patients with variously-shaped craniums await inspection. The Viennese physician Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828) proposed that the contours of the skull followed the brain's shape, with each region responsible for an aspect of personality or behaviour. Feeling the lumps was like reading the mind. He called his system organology, but it later became known as phrenology, derived from the Greek word 'phren' for mind. Phrenology never achieved the status of an accredited science, although the principle that many functions are localised in the brain is now widely accepted.



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